Kenneth Cole Inks Licensing Deal With China-Based Global Brands

Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. has tapped China-based brand management firm Global Brands Group Holding Ltd. to revitalize momentum in several of its divisions.

The company said Thursday that it has signed a U.S. licensing agreement with Global Brands for men’s, women’s and children’s apparel as well as handbags under the Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, and Unlisted, A Kenneth Cole Production labels.

As we continue to grow and evolve the Kenneth Cole brand around the world, we are excited to partner with a global leader like Global Brands, with vast design, distribution, operational and sourcing capabilities to better service our growing brand footprint,” said Kenneth Cole CEO Marc Schneider in a release. “We are excited about this partnership and the growth opportunities it affords us in these categories of our business.”

Footwear, Kenneth Cole’s largest division by volume, will remain in-house.

Kenneth Cole and his brand has defined the standard for New York style and social consciousness for more than three decades,” said Jason Rabin, president of North America and chief merchandising officer of Global Brands, in a statement. “We believe that the Kenneth Cole brand has tremendous potential to resonate with consumers far beyond levels it is currently reaching. We are excited to work with the Kenneth Cole team and to add this iconic American brand to our growing portfolio and look forward to taking it to new phases of growth.”

Global Brands is also a licensee for other big fashion brands, including Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Cole Haan, Michael Kors and Coach, as well as animated film characters such as Disney’s “Frozen,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Peanuts.”

The deal with Global Brands isn’t the first big deal Kenneth Cole struck in 2016.

In January, Kenneth Cole also announced a three-year partnership with LF Brands to further the label’s global expansion.

The agreement included global footwear launches for fall ’16, in territories such as Germany, France, Benelux, Switzerland and Austria. The launch focused on men’s and women’s footwear from the company’s namesake brand, as well as women’s Gentle Souls footwear, another name under Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.

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